Cyclist pleads guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter

Published Thursday, July 25, 2013 / The Five

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," July 25, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: So, here in New York City a lot of people like to ride their bikes, and they're annoying and they're a little crazy. And I'm going tell you more about that in a second.

But, first, in San Francisco, a bicyclist who killed a 71-year-old pedestrian while speeding downhill just pled guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter. Surveillance video showed 37-year-old Chris Bucchere skipping two top shrines and he hit the victim who was crossing the street with his bike. It's believed the first such conviction in the country.

Here's his attorney George Gascon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE GASCON, SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Cyclists need to understand that they're held accountable to the same standards anybody else operating any other type of vehicle. And I believe that we have achieved that in this case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: Okay. Kimberly, I'm going to you because you know San Francisco very well. And you had a couple of firsts in San Francisco when you were able to get the murder charge against the people that had the dogs that attacked that woman.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Yes.

PERINO: This guy who he says the rider--he said I was already too--way too committed to stop. I couldn't see a line through the crowd. I couldn't stop. So I laid down and just plowed through the cross walk in the least populated place I could find. I hope he ends up okay.

But the guy who was hit by him, four days later died.

Do you think he should have done jail time? Because he didn't have to go to jail.

GUILFOYLE: No, but he could have gone to jail for up to a period of six years. When you look at the conduct in this case and the posting that you read, I think shows it all. It's his own admission there that he's saying on purpose went through, was going too fast.

So he was being reckless to begin with. There are crowds of people. He's trying to go through a red light. So he should be held to the same standards as someone who gets behind the wheel of a car and operates it recklessly, because of his actions, because of his specific intentions to plow through where there are people that man died.

So yes, I guess it's a victory in that they obtained the first felony conviction in a case like this, but it's an empty victory. This man on the screen lost his life and this guy gets to do some community service. So, that for me personally having worked at that office, I wouldn't have pled that case out for no time. No way.

PERINO: Well, I realize there are some cyclists who do it for exercise. That's how they like to get around. They do it for environmental reasons, whatever.

But, Eric, in New York City, 9.4 people a day are hit by bikes and injured by people on their bikes blowing through the lights.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: I have to tell you, there are areas of--down at the shore where people--these cyclists they're going 30--they're speeding.

GUILFOYLE: They don't care.

PERINO: This guy was going 32 in a 25.

BOLLING: Yes. And I agree with Kimberly, it's a victory, you get a conviction, but what in the world were they thinking not--you know, setting a precedent of community service. So if it happens again, they're going to point to this case and say, well, he got a slap on the wrist so we'll get a slap on the wrist.

What about the drivers that avoid cyclists that end up in car accidents?

PERINO: A lot of cyclists are hit by cars as well. I know Greg likes to do that for sport. Sometime you drive around in your little big wheel knocking over things.

Do you walk around that you're going to get hit by a bike when crossing the street?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: No, I'm usually heavily medicated. I don't want to taint all cyclists because of this killing. And I'd rather get hit by a car than a bike.

But for the past 25 years, you see a new strain of arrogance among these cyclists and it's a combination of fitness and environmentalism because they feel that they're doing two self-righteous things. They're getting in shape and they're not driving a car. And that creates a sense of arrogance that when they're coming down the street, they look at you like you're a waste of time.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Absolutely.

You know, I have in my house in Maryland, there's a bike path that goes right through there. It's a major road. They all stay on the major road and don't use the bike path.

Now, what is that all about? They all wear that ridiculous Lycra stuff, making them look like they should be in the gay rights parade. And they sit there and you're behind them and you're driving. And what I do, I get in front of them and then I just stop my car.

BOLLING: Yes. You're doing so well.

(LAUGHTER)

BECKEL: No, listen. Do you realize a large percentage of the people, over one in four, have alcohol in their blood stream when the they do this. And secondly, a lot of them don't have brakes on their bikes.

GUILFOYLE: I don't know. Where did you get that statistic? Because it's not--

BECKEL: The guy I ran over, he didn't have any brakes.

GUILFOYLE: No, not that one, Bob. The one--that wasn't--

BECKEL: It's right there. It says right here.

PERINO: It's not just people in New York City that have this problem. This is replicated all over the place. I'm not saying that one cyclist can everyone else a bad name, but I have anxiety about this. I hope they start obeying the traffic laws.

GUTFELD: That's where this whole story came from. We should have--

(CROSSTALK)

GUTFELD: That's what it is.

PERINO: That's what it is!

GUTFELD: America, this is it. It's all about Jasper. Jasper almost got hit by a bike, so we actually killed--

PERINO: And when I yelled at the guy, he turned around and flipped me off. He ran the red light.

GUTFELD: It was Mayor Bloomberg.

PERINO: Probably.

BECKEL: You know, I did my part. I open up my door in car and a cyclist ran right into it.

PERINO: What?

GUILFOYLE: What does that have to do with the story, Bob?

BECKEL: I gave him 40 bucks.

PERINO: We're going to try to figure out what Bob meant.

GUTFELD: You know my strategy for getting people not using the city bikes? That's the city bike plan. Spread the rumor that naked people are using them.

PERINO: At night.

GUTFELD: Yes, at night. Everybody will stop that.

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE: So many go unused. I saw there's so many of those bikes and no one is riding them.

PERINO: Every time I go by, there are only two or three bikes left. People are using the thing.

GUILFOYLE: Where?

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: Give free Depends.

GUILFOYLE: Gross.

PERINO: We're going to continue to debate this public service announcement on Jasper's behalf.

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